Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal
K-Gr 2—A lighthearted and visually humorous retelling of the Bible story. In this version, the concept of God as a punitive force is discarded; instead the focus is entirely on the people. Their routine lives seem pleasant enough until someone gets bored and ignites a flurry of discussion about the need for something new and unusual to happen. After abandoning a few ideas such as starting a band or searching the Internet ("But the computer hadn't been invented yet"), they decide to construct a tower "that will make us important and powerful!" It is their arrogance that ultimately results in multilingual squabbling. The rhythmical text moves the tale along at an enjoyable pace and creates a sense of fun. Childlike illustrations are painted in flat, bold colors across spreads that contain lots of amusing details, including an adorable white-and-black pup and a green parrot. Multicultural characters take on a comic quality with large round heads, big eyes, triangular bodies, and silly expressions. For collections looking for a fresh version of an old story, this book fits the bill.—Teri Markson, Los Angeles Public Library
Children's Literature - Sara Rofofsky Marcus
Written in free verse, this book tells the story of the building of the Tower of Babel in a modern, tongue-in-cheek manner. For example, a cafe where cheesecake, strudel, and tea with lemon are served, and the holiday of Purim. Beginning with life in the Valley of Shinar where the Tower was built, being the same year after year, the work demonstrates other inaccuracies. One day the people decide to do something new to rid themselves of boredom. After turning down ideas that are modern and again out of place, such as searching the Internet, the people decide to build a tower to heaven. The changing of languages occurs but is not explained, and languages identified are not appropriate to the time and place. The images are culturally diverse, but the text itself and the way the people are dressed are not a true representation of the event, although the whimsical style can appeal to younger readers. A problem occurs with historical inaccuracies as young children do not always have a firm grasp of the concept of historical events, and thus what is said might be believed as true. A good way to demonstrate a modern re-telling of a traditional tale, this should be used with care. Reviewer: Sara Rofofsky Marcus
Kirkus Reviews
The familiar biblical tale is given a sassy, contemporary voice that leads to a perplexing, implied conclusion. Many, many years ago, when the world's population lived in the Land of Shinar and spoke one language, everyone became bored with the humdrum nature of everyday life. "They went to school, worked at their jobs, and kept their home tidy and gardens blooming." Discussion at the local cafe inspires new ideas and leads to the building of a tower "that will reach heaven . . . [and] make us important and powerful!" One hundred floors later, the people celebrate that "We will rule the earth and the sky!" But a thunderous hailstorm and lightning-torn sky splinter the once-cohesive group into several smaller ones unable to communicate in their new but different languages. While the storm serves as a metaphor for God's anger, children may have difficulty inferring the story's theme of arrogance run amok, as He and His wrath are never made explicit players in the story. Rebora's bright illustrations, reminiscent of Melissa Sweet's, add humor to this retelling of how and why God created the world's numerous races and tongues, but they won't fill the narrative gaps. (Picture book. 4-6)

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Product Details

Lerner Publishing Group
Publication date:
Adult and Young Adult Bks.
Product dimensions:
8.10(w) x 10.80(h) x 0.10(d)
Age Range:
5 - 9 Years

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